How To Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

As explained by the International Diabetes Institute, diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is caused when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Type 2 occurs when the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin and the body does not respond to insulin properly.

The majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Initially insulin is still produced by the pancreas, but is less effective than normal. This is called insulin resistance and is an inherited characteristic made worse by carrying extra body fat or being inactive.

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in Australia, as mentioned by Kathryn:

With the incidence of type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes on the rise in Australia, it’s increasingly vital to spread the message of how it can (usually) be regulated through diet and lifestyle changes. If you want to prevent complications, keep your blood sugar levels stable and continue living a long and healthy life, then diet and lifestyle are important.

The latest GI newsletter contains a comprehensive list of the ten diet and lifestyle changes you need to make to reduce your risk of getting diabetes, or to live well with the condition. If you have type II diabetes, have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or there’s a history of diabetes in your family, then this is the list for you.

How To Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

  1. Reduce how much you eat.
    If you are overweight, your priority should be to lose weight and body fat. Losing as little as 5 to 10% can make a significant difference to your diabetes risk.
  2. Cut back on saturated fats and cholesterol.
    Saturated fats can be found in meat and dairy products so cutting down on these foods is the first step in reducing your LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  3. Modify your carbohydrate intake.
    If you have a high carbohydrate diet, try replacing some carbs with lean meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables for a more balanced diet.
  4. Eat more regularly.
  5. Increase your protein intake, but don’t go overboard.
    Protein won’t increase your blood glucose level and is valuable for satisfying appetite. Legumes, fish, lean red meat and skinless chicken are good sources of protein.
  6. Eat more of the healthy foods (such as fruit and vegetables).
    We can all benefit from adding more fruit and vegetables to our diet. Try eating 2 or 3 pieces of fruit for breakfast and add an extra couple of vegetables to your main meals.
  7. Cut back on salt.
    Most salt in our diet comes from processed or pre-prepared foods. Try to eat more home cooked meals where you can more easily regulate your salt intake.
  8. Be active every day.
    Regular physical activity is not only necessary for reducing your risk of diabetes but for overall well being. Light activity such as walking or cleaning the house is useful exercise but it’s important to do more strenuous exercise as well. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise per day is the minimum required. If your doctor tells you or you suspect you are at risk of diabetes you might find that 90 minutes of exercise per day is more appropriate.
  9. Don’t smoke. If you do, quit.
    This clearly doesn’t require any explanation. See your doctor on advice on how to quit smoking.
  10. Limit your consumption of alcohol.
    Limiting or avoiding alcohol altogether is advantageous in reducing your risk of diabetes.

Any concerns about diabetes should be discussed with your doctor. Your GP can help you to lose weight, reduce your cholesterol, and help you to quit smoking as well as giving your more specific advice on reducing your risk of getting diabetes.